Phrase of the day: go with the flow

My preferred way of getting around London is by bike. I usually cycle in and out of town, and on my way home, I often go past the offices of Age UK, which is a charity that campaigns for old people and provides services such as free advice on finance, fitness classes, and friendships to prevent loneliness. On the windows of its building, it has photos of a number of old people with quotes such as “In life, if you have your health, you’ve got everything” and this one which I particularly liked: “I wouldn’t like to go back to my younger days. I go with the flow now“.

When you go with the flow, you’re chilled – or chilled out. In other words, you’re very relaxed and you don’t worry too much about things or care what people think of you; you accept changes and don’t fight them, but in a way that’s good for you. The idea behind going with the flow is that you’re like a boat being carried down the river as it flows to the sea, without too much need to use energy – and who doesn’t like a gentle cruise down a river?

The implication is that when you’re younger, life is a bit more difficult and involves more struggles. This seems to me a great way of looking at getting older and is closer to Age UK’s vision of a world where everyone can enjoy later life. Interestingly, the charity was formed out of two previous organisations called Age Concern and Help the Aged, the names of which make becoming older sound like a big problem – when we should perhaps try and see more of the benefits . . . such as being able to go with the flow.

Want more? Study with us next summer.

  • How are old people treated in your country?
  • Do you worry about getting old?
  • Are there any charities like Age UK in your country?
  • How far do you like to go with the flow? Why?
  • How do you usually get around where you live? Why?
  • Have you ever been on a cruise down a river?
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5 Responses

  1. Ameena says:

    Does the phrase also imply the meaning that you’re following the general crowd and doing what everybody else is doing?

    • Hugh Dellar says:

      I guess it can have that idea of doing what other people are doing or agreeing with other people because it is the easiest thing to do.
      It’s like taking the path of least resistance.
      Obviously, you can also just say just follow the crowd as well.

  2. Valentina says:

    Hello! My name is Valentina and I teach in a public primary school in Ohrid.
    I seldom use my website on ( but I found this post intriguing. At the beginning, I want to answer your questions.Let’s start with the first one: In the last five years our country faced a lot of changes and it was said that we were becoming “a society of elders”. Many of the young people left and those who didn’t have been struggling each on one’s own. It’s not easy particularly if one has in mind that we don’t have Elderly Care homes in smaller cities so I attended the meeting which took place last year and raised the question in front of the representatives of the local City Council and people from our Local Community. There’s an interest and the initiative was made earlier to provide for decent Elderly care home but instead of such facilities we have lots of other buildings that remain closed and empty during the whole year. Our town is famous for tourism and people usually gather there in summer. There are no charities for the elders like that mentioned in Q3 and the vulnerable categories are helped by the Association of Pensioners. As for the gentle cruise down the river I think it’s a bit tempting,promising,even romantic but the panoramic view from above (eg. from the Millennium Wheel) is more complete. I do not consider myself that old and I want to be the change that fulfills me the most. Being in good health is certainly important so that one doesn’t expect from anybody else to care for him/her. But I still stand my ground that the towns definitely need such Centers for older population because all of us should be aware that aging is inevitable and no one should pass through it in unhappiness or solitude.

    • Hugh Dellar says:

      Thanks for this Valentina. Interesting stuff. I think the problem of ageing populations is something many countries are having to deal with at the moment, especially if we want enough young people in the workforce, earning money and paying taxes that can be used to provide at least some level of basic health care.

  3. Jane says:

    I can only heap praises on the work of Age UK. This article is also a great way to sensitise Ss re the linguistic landscape. Even outwith the UK, there will be some English scribbled on a wall somewhere!

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